There are these interesting conversations around Blogging, that I get into sometimes.
Often times, I am asked as to what is it that I do. And when I respond saying, “I am a food blogger”, the first question is, “What is it and do you make any money out of it?”
And then starts the interesting conversations – Most of it around how you can start a blog and make money.
While these conversations are interesting, it is difficult.
Because the grind that ones goes through as a blogger is never understood. In fact, it is never talked about and that too, for a reason.
What reason, you ask?
Because, if there is any discussion around that grind then it wouldn’t be easy to sell the idea of “Blogging” being the next big thing that can make you an overnight millionaire, to any aspiring blogger.
But then, should I really care?
I should, considering me and Dilip have been working on our blogging course project for some time now. But that’s not the approach I would like to take.
Because we believe that’s the only way we can help people.
So, if you are interested in learning a little bit about that grind then you might want to read this post.
A Journey called The Tastes of India
The Tastes of India is a blog that I started somewhere in 2008. That’s a long time. Isn’t it?
Yes, indeed it’s a long time and this long time has a story to tell.
When I started off, I had no clue about what blogging is, what WordPress is, What SEO was and how all of these things work.
But over the course of time, I learnt everything one by one and built my blog brick by brick.
Now, the obvious question is – Wasn’t all of that difficult and boring for somebody who isn’t techie in any sense?
It was obviously difficult because I was a complete non-techie (You can read more about me here). But it wasn’t at all boring. In fact it was interesting and I loved learning every bit of it.
And that is what happens when you are doing something you love. You want to learn everything and more surrounding what you do.
Then came the age of social media and building a social media audience for your blog. It was another completely unknown space to me and for somebody like me who was an extreme example of an “Introvert”, it was all the more difficult.
But I conquered that too and Pinterest and Facebook became my favorite spaces. Today the top 3 traffic sources to my blog are Pinterest, Search Engines and Facebook. (I am now learning Instagram).
Don’t we have a social media manager?
We had worked with a couple of them but the experience wasn’t really great (Maybe that was just me and my expectations). Even if we had one, I would be spending time to learn all of these tools. After all you should know what you are into, isn’t it?
I had my share of ups and downs. Some of those downs were drastic and took me to a point, where I had even thought of quitting.
It was in 2010. My blog was hosted with a hosting company who was the cheapest alternative that was available when we launched.
After all when you start, you usually look for low-cost options. But cheap can sometimes lead to bigger problems, which is what we learnt the hard way.
In 2010, we got an email from the hosting company saying that their servers have been hacked and all of the data that were there on their servers have been lost.
We were shocked. On checking we found that The Tastes of India was not showing up. We panicked and reached out to the hosting company for any backups that they would have.
Their response was a “SORRY”. They did not have any backups and they claimed that all of the data that they had was corrupted and couldn’t be used.
Unfortunately for us, we didn’t have a local backup too.
That was 2 and half years worth of data. Almost 150 plus posts and recipes. The Tastes of India was ranking on the first page for most recipe keywords and we were enjoying some nice traffic from the search engines.
All of that was gone overnight.
We were sitting in front of our computer staring at a blank screen not knowing what to do.
I had a few recipes saved on my computer. Other than that there was nothing.
And it meant that we had to start from scratch.
We just couldn’t gather the courage to do that.
So the decision was simple – QUIT.
And quit, we did. For about 10 months.
That’s when Dilip came across some archives of our blog on the internet and he said, “Why not start our blog all over again? I will retrieve whatever I can from these archives and we will start all over”.
Something in me was waiting for that conversation. After all, the blogger inside me hadn’t quit. It was still alive.
And that’s when we started The Tastes of India all over again.
Even today, I have some of those posts that we had retrieved from the archives, still living on the blog. The skeletal look of the post should give you an idea of what we went through in that year and a half.
We have built the blog all over again and today have an excellent readership.
LESSON LEARNT - Never fall for cheap. There is a difference between "economical" and "cheap". Economical is finding the one that costs your less but still provides quality whereas "Cheap" is low cost with no quality.
As part of our journey, we ventured into some other interesting arena as well like Podcasting. The Tastes of India Podcast is the only recipe podcast in India and we crossed a 125K listens the last week.
Our journey has been quite an eventful one and there’s a lot that we learnt as we grew.
I am sure a lot of other bloggers, especially food bloggers would have had a similar journey and a similar story to tell.
Food Bloggers and Influencers
Food blogging has seen a lot of growth in the last few years – 4-5 years to be precise.
A lot of new bloggers joined the food blogging bandwagon and thanks to the influence of social media, these bloggers have been able to build an audience of their own, pretty fast.
One of the very common question that I am asked by my personal coaching students is, “With so many food bloggers on the internet, isn’t it a little too saturated to get into food blogging right now?”
It is here that the blogosphere is different from anything else.
The internet is huge with an audience that keeps growing everyday. So there will be no dearth of traffic.
But competition is something that you will obviously face just like in everything else.
If you are able to find your niche and start your blog in that niche, then you should be able to address the competition problem as well.
And if you are somebody who doesn’t want to take the blogging route, you always have an option of using your influence on Social Media and become a social media influencer.
There are so many people in the food, dieting and healthy living niche who are using their social media influence, especially on Instagram and Facebook, and are building a full time business out of it.
Today, the demand for such influencers – both bloggers and social media influencers, is huge. While brands are taking their help for product endorsements because of their following and reach, they are also helping with creating social awareness and supporting social causes.
So, if you are an aspiring blogger and have been planning to start a blog for some time, then the time is now and here.
But keep in mind the two most important things in Blogging – Persistence and Consistency.
With people mostly staying indoors because of the COVID-19 situation, this is the best time to focus your energy and start that blog that you have been planning to start all this while.
In case you need any help you can reach out to me for help and I will be more than happy to help you start your own food blog.